Cory's Corner: Character issues or injury concerns?

Only two days to go and the NFL Draft is finally here.

There is plenty of posturing by agents, general managers and players still left to be done. But the main question that teams have to answer is, what can we live with — poor behavior or poor health?

The leaders for poor behavior are Joe Mixon, Dalvin Cook, Chad Kelly, Cam Robinson and Teez Tabor. The leaders for poor health are Sidney Jones, Takkarist McKinley, Malik Hooker, Corey Davis, Reuben Foster, John Ross, Fabian Moreau and Jake Butt.

So when you look at both lists, what’s the bigger risk? The guy that has a history of off-field issues or the guy that is entering the NFL as an injury risk?

It’s a tough question because how do you evaluate Davis? The wideout from Western Michigan had ankle surgery on Feb. 1 and hasn’t participated in the Senior Bowl, NFL Combine or the Western Michigan Pro Day. The 6-foot-3, 209-pound Davis is the No. 1 wide receiver according to CBS.

But how much will NFL general managers want to trust the Mid American Conference star without seeing how Davis responded to any NFL talent evaluation following the season? It’s a tough question because it calls for a lot of trust between the team and the player’s entourage.

Last year, the Cowboys surprised everyone when they picked linebacker Jaylon Smith, even though he tore his ACL and LCL three-and-a-half months prior in the Fiesta Bowl. “Make no mistake, he will not play in 2016,” said NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock, after the selection. “This is all about a nerve regenerating and nobody knows if and to what extent.”

The Cowboys could’ve taken Hunter Henry, the best tight end in the draft, or A’Shawn Robinson, who led all defensive tackles with seven deflections in his rookie season.

General managers have to weigh the risks and see what specific risks can still give the highest return of investment. That guy in this year’s draft is Butt. Last year, Butt was the most talented tight end in college football but opted to come back to Michigan. However, he tore his ACL in the Orange Bowl and his stock has tumbled. As long as a team doesn’t reach, Butt could be a steal.

Character vs. injury concerns are big questions because if a high pick is wasted on someone that cannot play or cannot play up to the drafted level, then that pick just set the franchise back two or three years. 

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Comments (25)

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NickPerry's picture

April 25, 2017 at 06:50 am

I'd love to see the Packers land Butt, Jones, or even Mixon. The question is which round they could wait until before making the pick. The Packers need help on defense and this is the best draft in years to try and find some immediate help. You could argue the Packers shouldn't even think about drafting a medical or character risk until at least the 4th round, maybe the 3rd depending on the player.

Rodgers is 34 this season, you never know when an injury like Nelsons for example could happen. Hell Nelson is 32 this May, when and where is his replacement going to start to be groomed? If Ted participated in all the ways to build a team EVERY year then you could more easily afford to use a pick on a "Risk". As long as he's the GM I don't think the Packers can afford to use a Top 100 pick on a risk, not when we're this close to a SB. I'm looking at this draft as the Packers "Vault" into the SB. Unrealistic? Maybe, but I can't count on my current GM to sign a Bennett, Kendricks or even a RJF every year.

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croatpackfan's picture

April 25, 2017 at 07:56 am

Agree! Injury to injury, behavior to behavior. Not every injury is the same, as well as behaviour. ACL injury can happen to anyone any time. That injury is consequence of many various factors that comes togehter at one moment of time. Immature, childish behaviour can be corrected. Personality is something else...

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OrganLeroy's picture

April 25, 2017 at 02:42 pm

If the Packers really want Mixon (i do) they'll need to move up ahead of Cinnci in the 2nd or trade down into the top 8 of the 2nd to get him.

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stockholder's picture

April 25, 2017 at 07:29 am

If I was GM I wouldn't draft any of them. How can you draft a player that can't leave the PEDs, etc., alone? The packers have had to many guys say their clean, only to get suspended. How could you draft a guy that gets hurt just running, and never touched? Players earn and get reputations! For every player that wants to turn a new leaf in life. 20 can't change. For every player that has been physical hurt, it takes years to get over the mental aspect of the injury. Yes they rebound, but the cleaner the player, the healthier, and happier, the team. Why let some player start a crisis ,or be a crisis to your team. This team doesn't need question marks. It needs answers.

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Savage57's picture

April 25, 2017 at 07:34 am

The answer to this question is so simple, it makes you wonder why it even is one.

You take the guy who won't get injured, behaves like a choirboy, is willing to play for half of his market value and produces like a first ballot lock for Canton in 15 years.

People are overthinking this.

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dobber's picture

April 25, 2017 at 08:47 am

"Last year, the Cowboys surprised everyone when they picked linebacker Jaylon Smith, even though he tore his ACL and LCL three-and-a-half months prior in the Fiesta Bowl."

...and Randy Gregory before that...and...

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Handsback's picture

April 25, 2017 at 09:21 am

Let's add Foster, Brantley, and Peppers to the poor behavior column. Now also add Foster to the poor health column since his surgery didn't go as well as it could.
I don't know where TT will draw the line. Second round for Sidney Jones, I don't see a problem. First round for Ruben Foster, depends on medical and background.
Peppers, Mixon, Brantley I have no idea. Talent is one thing talent you can depend on is something entirely different.

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dobber's picture

April 25, 2017 at 09:31 am

I just don't see TT touching Sydney Jones with his injury situation. In recent years, some front-office sorts have said that a guy with a clean history is pretty valuable...and guys who you draft when they're hurt tend to stay hurt...FWIW.

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NickPerry's picture

April 25, 2017 at 09:35 am

Justin Harrell...

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WKUPackFan's picture

April 25, 2017 at 10:41 am

How exactly did Peppers exhibit poor behavior? He had a "dilute sample". The only reason it is considered a "failed sample" is the NFL's arbitrary rule that all dilute samples are considered as failed samples.

Dilute samples can result from being over hydrated, being ill, and any number of other reasons. Normal people submitting urine samples for medical reasons can have dilute samples.

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OrganLeroy's picture

April 25, 2017 at 02:44 pm

I just read yesterday that Foster got a very positive check up on his shoulder with full range of motion.

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dobber's picture

April 25, 2017 at 09:32 am

Speaking of injury/character concerns: the Saints have supposedly signed AP. Whew. I'm glad to not have to hear about AP to the Packers anymore.

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worztik's picture

April 25, 2017 at 09:51 am

I realize how much enjoyment we receive talking about who TT will choose, or won't, and try to project prospects onto the team's roster. I buy every draft mag available to read the so called "experts" opinions and it amazes me how they all agree on approximately 1-2 players per position! Therefore, I find it more enjoyable and just as difficult to pick the position and not necessarily the player. I'll break from what I just said to say with the first pick in the 2017 NFL draft, the GBPs select CB Quincy Wilson from FL!!! There, I've said what I said I wouldn't! If we go CB-EDGE-WR-CB-RB-OL-QB-WR we'll have a good base! The reason that none of this makes any sense, is because we can only see one team's needs... not all 32!

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dobber's picture

April 25, 2017 at 10:28 am

To build, this is what WE perceive as team needs. What to the guys at 1265 perceive as the key needs?

For example...I have a hunch the Packers take only 1 CB in this draft and it won't be until round 3 or 4. Why? Because the draft is deep at CB, and I think TT and the staff will look at the high end draft capital they have invested at CB and say: "We need to give Rollins and Randall a chance to succeed, but we need someone who will fit into the rotation who will replace House in 2018." Do I necessarily agree with that? Not necessarily, but I can see where they might arrive at that conclusion.

I don't mock (drafts...people on the other hand... ;) ) because it generally makes me look dumber than I am, but I'm going to guess that the Packers draft Shaquill Griffin, CB, UCF, in round 3/4 as the only CB they take this year. Good track speed and decent agility, size, length, strength that could translate well to press coverage as he adjusts to the NFL game. Good ball skills, has been productive at UCF, and good character.

I really like Quincy Wilson, by the way. Would love to see him in GB.

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OrganLeroy's picture

April 25, 2017 at 02:50 pm

I totally agree with the your stance about CB, because it's the fans and analysts that are convinced CB is our biggest issue ignoring the injuries and the fact that R&R are going to be 3rd year guys. BUT, I believe Ted will draft at least 2 and I also believe he's taking a RB in the 2nd round and the 2 guys that fit that bill are Forman and Mixon IF Mixon falls that far in the 2nd which is not looking likely. The CB's are much deeper than the Edge guys so if we keep #29 I believe it'll be Edge.

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dobber's picture

April 25, 2017 at 03:19 pm

"The CB's are much deeper than the Edge guys so if we keep #29 I believe it'll be Edge."

That would be my thinking, too.

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worztik's picture

April 25, 2017 at 09:55 am

And then TT will draft a DL....

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OrganLeroy's picture

April 25, 2017 at 02:51 pm

Can't have enuff of those guys!

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WKUPackFan's picture

April 25, 2017 at 10:58 am

Injury issues are, to an extent, objectively quantifiable. Most injuries don't have long lasting effects, a few do. Achilles injuries can be long lasting (physically and mentally), that's why I'm not as enthused about Sidney Jones as most are.

Character is subjective, it's in the eye of the beholder. Some still cling to the belief that smoking marijuana is the equivalent of evil incarnate. If the player's alleged "bad character" doesn't disrupt the team, his peccadilloes really don't bother me.

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dobber's picture

April 25, 2017 at 11:03 am

I would argue that so long as the NFL treats pot in the same category as other controlled substances, its use will be a problem for GMs. Its use has the potential to limit the availability of the player. I don't think it has much to do with what the average person, like you or I, thinks of it.

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WKUPackFan's picture

April 25, 2017 at 11:39 am

Oh, I totally agree with you on that dobber.

The question is: What audience is the NFL playing to in maintaining it's pot stance? My guess is that it is the 55+ demographic. I hope it's worth it for the NFL, because they are depriving us of seeing exciting players like Justin Blackmon and Josh Gordon.

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dobber's picture

April 25, 2017 at 01:08 pm

I think that if/when the national statute changes, the position on marijuana will change. It's hard for the Shield to ignore unlawful activity when it supposedly is so squeaky clean...

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Turophile's picture

April 25, 2017 at 02:16 pm

QUOTE The leaders for poor behavior are Joe Mixon, Dalvin Cook, Chad Kelly, Cam Robinson and Teez Tabor. The leaders for poor health are Sidney Jones, Takkarist McKinley, Malik Hooker, Corey Davis, Reuben Foster, John Ross, Fabian Moreau and Jake Butt. ENDQUOTE

With Mixon, it needs a deep character evaluation, so it's not worth a guess, I'll leave it to Packers thoroughness to make the right decision. Cook I'd leave alone. A rather average combine, questionable friends, too much risk.

The Packers don't need a QB or first round OT, so ignore Kelly and Robinson.

I wouldn't take Ross - tremendously talented and fast as lightspeed, but like a high performance car, fragile and high maintenance at his size.

Teez Tabor ran a terrible 40 time and displays a high maintenance character - pass until round three. same with Sidney Jones ankle - too much of a risk until three.

McKinleys and Moreau's shoulder injuries don't worry me that much, nor does Davis's ankle.

The others I don't really have an opinion on, so the three I would take, are Moreau, C.Davis and McKinley.

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dobber's picture

April 25, 2017 at 03:17 pm

Add Gareon Conley to your list of bad actors...he might fall out of the draft altogether...

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OrganLeroy's picture

April 25, 2017 at 02:54 pm

From Matt Miller @ Bleacher Report:

Green Bay Packers: A source on the scouting staff said the plan is to go defense early and often in this draft, unless a surprise player falls in Round 1. The same source said Joe Mixon is very much in play in Round 2. He remains on their board.

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